COMPANION

Elisabeth Walker

Elisabeth Walker (1914-2013), British teacher of the Alexander Technique.

Life

She trained as a radiographer in 1935 at Middlesex Hospital and became assistant to Graham Hodgson. His practice in Upper Brook Street, London, served many royalty and celebrities of the day (Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Mrs Simpson (the Duchess of Windsor) and Vivien Leigh). Elisabeth started having lessons with Alexander in 1937, and in 1938 she and her husband, Dick, started training as teachers of the Technique with F. M. Alexander. They married in 1938 and had six children of which five survived: Gavin, Adrian Mark, Richard, Julia, and Lucia. As her training was interrupted by the war, she did not finish her training until 1947.

After qualifying in 1947 Elisabeth and Dick decided to live and teach in South Africa and drove all the way in a 3-ton truck through Europe and Africa to Johannesburg. They took over Irene Tasker’s house and her teaching practice. In South Africa she met Nelson Mandela and anti-apartheid advocates like Vernon Berrangé and Bram Fischer. (Berrangé and Fischer were lawyers who, acting on behalf of F. M. Alexander, won the famous Libel Case in which Alexander had been libelled by a South African government magazine.)

They returned to England and ran a teachers training course in Oxford 1985-2000. Elisabeth and Dick gave lessons to Nikolaas Tinbergen and his family. (Tinbergen subsequently devoted half of his Nobel Prize Speech in 1973 to a praising description of the Alexander Technique.[1])

In her later years Elisabeth gave workshops and master classes to teachers of the Alexander Technique in many countries around the world, sometimes with her daughter, Lucia Walker. (Two of their children, Lucia and Julia, also became teachers of the Technique.)

Writings

Elisabeth did not write on the Technique but some interviews exist. In addition her memoirs, Forward and Away, in 2008, contain some memoirs of training with Alexander and of her views on the Technique.[2] Her F. M. Alexander Memorial Lecture contains a description of her journey to South Africa.[3]

Articles

  • ‘Fifty-five years on’ by Elisabeth Walker provides a short overview of her history with the Alexander Technique.[4]
  • ‘Our journey to South Africa’ (F. M. Alexander Memorial Lecture) by Elisabeth Walker.[5]
  • ‘Notes from a workshop’ is from the 6th International Congress in 1999.[6]
  • ‘Elisabeth Walker’ is a transcript of her masterclass at the 5th International Congress in 1996.[7]

Interviews

  • ‘Interview with Elisabeth Walker’ by Jean Clark, Daniel Harberg.[8]
  • ‘Elisabeth Walker’ by Jean M. O. Fischer.[9]
  • ‘Age, experience and the Alexander Technique’ by Ruth Rootberg.[10] [11]

Obituaries

  • ‘Elisabeth Walker’ Obituary in The Times, 30 November 2013.[12]
  • ‘Elisabeth Walker – A life in balance’ by Kevin A. C. Martin.[13]
  • ‘Forward and away’ by Kevan Martin.[14]
  • ‘Remembering Elisabeth Walker’ by Judith Stern.[15]
  • ‘Remembering Elisabeth Walker’ by Jack Stern.[16]
  • ‘Elisabeth Walker – Master teacher, mentor, friend’ by Barbara Kent.[17].
  • ‘Elisabeth Walker – Some personal reflections’ by Michael D. Frederick.[18]
  • ‘A remarkable teacher and the cigar box’ by Diana Devitt-Dawson.[19]

‘Memories of Elisabeth Walker’ by Liz Dodgson.[20]

Video

  • ‘Elisabeth Walker in Oxford 2004 DVD vol. 1,[21] vol. 2’.[22]
  • Elisabeth Walker Freiburg 1999 DVD edited by David Reed.[23]
  • Richard and Elisabeth Walker’s Training School, 1989, by Anthony Kingsley.[24]

See also Richard Walker.

Elisabeth Walker *21 December 1914 – †17 September 2013.

References

[1] An extract was published in More Talk of Alexander edited by Dr Wilfred Barlow (Mouritz, 2005 [1978]), pp. 269–76.
[2] Forward and Away by Elisabeth Walker (Mouritz, 2014 [2008]).
[3] ‘Our journey to South Africa’ by Elisabeth Walker in The Alexander Journal no. 15, (STAT, 1997), pp. 3-12.
[4] ‘Fifty-five years on’ by Elisabeth Walker in Direction vol. 2, no. 2 edited by Jeremy Chance (Fyncot Pty Ltd., 1994), pp. 29–32.
[5] ‘Our journey to South Africa’ by Elisabeth Walker in The Alexander Journal no. 15, (STAT, 1997), pp. 3-12.
[6] ‘Notes from a workshop’ by Elisabeth Walker in The Congress Papers ed. by J. Fischer (STAT Books, 2001), pp. 153-169.
[7] ‘Elisabeth Walker’ in Back to Basics by Shmuel Nelken (Author, 1999), pp. 40-50.
[8] ‘Interview with Elisabeth Walker’ by Jean Clark, Daniel Harberg, unpublished DVD, 2006.
[9] ‘Elisabeth Walker’ by Jean M. O. Fischer in Conscious Control vol. 2 no. 2, (Mouritz, 2008), pp. 56-66.
[10] ‘Age Experience and the Alexander Technique’ by Ruth Rootberg in AmSAT Journal no. 5 (AmSAT, Spring 2014), pp. 17-24.
[11] ‘Age, Experience, and the Alexander Technique’ by Ruth Rootberg in Living the Alexander Technique by Ruth Rootberg (Off the Common Book, 2015), pp. 1–14.
[12] ‘Elisabeth Walker’ Obiturary in The Times, 30 November 2013.
[13] ‘Elisabeth Walker – A life in Balance’ by Kevin A. C. Martin in AmSAT Journal Spring 2014, no. 5, pp. 17-24.
[14] ‘Forward and away’ by Kevan Martin in STATNews vol. 8, no. 5 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, January 2014), pp. 32–33.
[15] ‘Remembering Elisabeth Walker’ by Judith Stern in AmSAT Journal Spring 2014, no. 5, pp. 13.
[16] ‘Remembering Elisabeth Walker’ by Jack Stern in AmSAT Journal Spring 2014, no. 5, pp. 13.
[17] ‘Elisabeth Walker – Master Teacher, Mentor, Friend’ by Barbara Kent in AmSAT Journal Spring 2014, no. 5, pp. 14.
[18] ‘Elisabeth Walker – Some Personal Reflections’ by Michael D. Frederick in AmSAT Journal Spring 2014, no. 5, pp. 15-16.
[19] ‘A remarkable teacher and the cigar box’ by Diana Devitt-Dawson in STATNews vol. 8, no. 5 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, January 2014), pp. 33–34.
[20] ‘Memories of Elisabeth Walker’ by Liz Dodgson in STATNews vol. 8, no. 5 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, January 2014), pp. 1, 34.
[21] ‘Elisabeth Walker in Oxford 2004 vol. 1’ edited by Nick Erickson (Nick Erickson, 2004).
[22] ‘Elisabeth Walker in Oxford 2004 vol. 2’ edited by Nick Erickson (Nick Erickson, 2004).
[23] ‘Elisabeth Walker Freiburg 1999’ edited by David Reed (David Reed Media, 2005).
[24] Richard and Elisabeth Walker’s Training School, 1989, by Anthony Kingsley. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBcVKMXh45E. Retrieved 11 November 2019.